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Underfloor Heating Pros And Cons

Electric underfloor heating is based on effective radiant heat technology. However, whilst UFH has proved to be highly efficient, it does come with a couple of downsides. In this article we’ll take a look at electric underfloor heating pros and cons.

In recent years, underfloor heating systems have gained popularity over traditional gas and electric boilers due to the fact that they are cheaper to run. Both rising energy costs and the effects of greenhouse emissions on the environment are driving factors in our quest for cleaner and cheaper heating solutions.

Pros of Underfloor Heating

The most immediate benefit of having an electric underfloor heating system installed is the significant saving on energy costs. This can be significant when compared to traditional heating systems such as a gas or electric boiler with radiators.

1. Energy efficient heating

With an underfloor heating system, the air above the floor level is heated to an equal temperature of around 29°C or less. It also rises at an equal speed, eliminating any cold spots. There is also a continuous flow of warm air that rises steadily while the system is on. A radiator system on the other hand, has to heat up to an average of 70°C and then project heat out into a room leaving areas nearest the radiator warm and other areas much cooler. Very often, a radiator is placed under a window, which can account for major heat loss.

2. Cheaper to run

Underfloor heating operates at a lower temperature and so the most immediate benefit of underfloor heating is the substantial saving on heating costs. This can be as much as 40% when compared to traditional heating systems such as a gas or electric boiler with radiators. This fact should adequately answer the most common questions relating to underfloor heating cost especially, ‘is underfloor heating worth it?’

Here are some figures at a glance:

  • Typical installation costs for a new build for £2300 to £6500
  • Typical installation costs for a retrofit are £4000 to £11000
  • For heating under tiled floors, you can expect to pay around £50m2 to £75m2
  • For heating under tiled floors, you can expect to pay around £50m2 to £75m2
  • For underfloor heating under carpets, vinyl and laminate costs are around 28p per hour

3. More Space & Design Freedom

Electric underfloor heating means you can do away with those intrusive and not-so-decorative radiators. With more wall-to-wall space available, and no radiators to worry about, you can arrange your internal furniture and fittings exactly how and where you want them. It makes redecorating a breeze too.

4. Works with all floor coverings

Whether your current or preferred choice of floor covering is carpet, tiles, stone or wood, electric underfloor heating will fit right in.

It is available in either a mat form, which is best for large open spaces, or a cable form, which is best for smaller and awkward-shaped rooms. There are also plenty of thermostat options available and in a variety of colours including Pro IQ in Summer Orange or 3IE in Leaf Green to match or contrast existing décor.

5. Safe and comfortable

Underfloor heating is completely inconspicuous and unlike radiators, there are no hot surfaces to worry about, especially when young children are playing in a room. The gently rising warm air generated from a UFH system is also beneficial to those with allergies and breathing conditions such as asthma. That’s because the lower temperature makes breathing more comfortable and unlike radiators UFH doesn’t circulate dust, therefore helping to eliminate dust mites.

6. Easy to install

There are 2 types of underfloor heating, water-based systems and electric. Hot water system installations are beyond the skills of most DIY enthusiasts but an electric underfloor heating system is relatively much easier to install. Underfloor heating kits are available to buy in both mat and cable forms complete with full installation instructions. You can choose from a wood underfloor heating kit and a carpet UFH kit.

Cons of Underfloor Heating

There are a few minor disadvantages to UFH including the time it takes for your rooms to warm up. Response times can be painfully slow so it’s highly recommended you have a fully controllable and programmable thermostat installed. And although electric underfloor heating is relatively quick and easy to install there are still a few drawbacks to consider including maintenance and the prospect of repairs.

1. Installation cost

If you need to get a professional to install your new electric underfloor heating system then there are the initial installation costs to consider. First, the cost of the system parts and second, labour costs. The more rooms you require to be fitted with UFH then obviously the more costly it will be.

2. Installation time

Most complete electric UFH systems can be installed within a few days, with a single room taking on average, about a day. However, during installation, you can expect some upheaval as existing floor coverings will need to be lifted and then refitted, which can add to the overall time of job completion.

3. Floor height challenges

In some cases, there is the issue of floor heights being altered in order to accommodate the heating mats. This usually only applies to tiled floors, where the mat has to be positioned directly beneath the tiles or between tiles and a concrete subfloor. When you consider that it’s also highly recommended to include insulation with a retrofit UFH system, this can raise the floor by around 9-12mm.

Is underfloor heating worth it?

The short answer is, yes. In the long term, it will save you money through energy efficiency and it’s kinder to the environment too. It is best considered as an investment because over time, like any investment, you will reap the financial benefits. Having underfloor heating installed also makes your property more desirable should you wish to sell it.

There are many benefits to underfloor heating systems over costly and traditionally high carbon-producing boiler and radiator systems. And the benefits far outweigh the initial installation costs. We have outlined all the pros and cons for your consideration but if you need more detailed information then check out our Electric underfloor heating web page. You can also find some useful information about Water underfloor heating.

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